Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ex-boxer Nick Blackwell 'unable to walk' and a year away from recovery after second head injury

Nick Blackwell
Nick Blackwell

Jack de Menezes

Former boxer Nick Blackwell is unable to walk after suffering a second serious head injury when he returned to sparring last November, and is around a year away from making a full recovery, according to his family.

26-year-old Blackwell suffered swelling on the brain and was left in a coma for the second time when he took part in a unsanctioned sparring session with Hasan Karkardi in November, having retired from boxing following his defeat by Chris Eubank Jr in March 2016.

Blackwell was rushed to hospital after the Eubank fight at London’s Wembley Arena, and although he did not require surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma that eventually led to his retirement in April.

But the boxing world was left shocked in November when it emerged that Blackwell was in hospital again after returning to the ring, and he required an operation to remove part of his skull to reduce the pressure on his brain that had been caused by swelling. Trowbridge-born Blackwell will now require a second operation to replace the segment of his skull, and while his health is improving, his family stress that he faces a long road to recovery.

Speaking to the BBC, members of Blackwell’s family confirmed that he will not attend the British Boxing Board of Control’s hearing into the sparring incident, which takes place on Wednesday, where Karkardi and Liam Wilkins – the trainer who oversaw the session – will discover if they face further sanctions, having both been suspended last year.

Blackwell cannot remember the sparring session, and his former trainer, Gary Lockett, told the BBC that he was “stupid” for returning to the ring when his health was at risk.

However, Lockett also accepted that he and Blackwell’s family and friends had underestimated how much he was missing the sport, and that he still had their full support to aid his recovery however long it takes.

"We thought that was all going very well and while we knew Nick missed boxing, we obviously didn't realise the extent to which he missed it," Lockett told the BBC.

"This is a long, long old road.

"It isn't like last time where no-one can believe how well he seems or how lucky he has been.

"I think we are winning at the moment but it is a long way to go.

"Nick has been a fool for what he has done, but we won't stop caring about him because of that and everyone is behind him with his recovery."

(© Independent News Service)

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